The Prince is a story written by Niccolo Machiavelli after his downfall in the government as a diplomatist and political consultant. Machiavelli directs his pieces of advice to both readers and leaders assuming that all of them have similar leadership skills or strategies.
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Although it is an ancient story, personally it is a revelation to good governance and enables me to understand the behavior of our current leaders.
During his tenure in the government, Machiavelli rubbed shoulders with prominent politicians in his country. His role as a diplomat and political consultant enabled him to study politicians and governors. Therefore, The Prince is not only advising the princes, but also anybody else (reader) with intentions of acquiring leadership positions especially in the government.
In addition, Machiavelli intention is to enlighten the public or his readers on governing skills and the common behavior observed in leaders or princes.
Machiavelli career as a politician and diplomat motivated him to write about princes and governance. At only twenty -five years old, he joined government therefore, being fully involved in politics.
Unfortunately, he did not exhaust his role in politics when the ruling government was overturned leading to his imprisonment, harassment, and eventual exile. The hopes of rekindling his political career motivated him to write the story, The Prince.
The prince is a story set in the ancient republic of Florence in which Machiavelli once worked. According to Machiavelli, princes who receive praises from their subjects have different ruling qualities from those who continually receive opposition (1513, cited in Kishlansky, p.17).
Anger, oppression, and cruelty lead to opposition, while humanity and humbleness promote good governance. On the other hand, Machiavelli calls for princes to distance themselves from their subjects because close ties lead to insecurity (cited in Kishlansky, 2002, p.19).
Furthermore, he advises princes not to fully trust military or mercenaries because they might overthrow them. Finally, princes should honor their subjects through holding parties or festivals and giving them awards.
When Machiavelli was writing his story, he assumed that princes who rule all the states in the West have a similar method of governance. Additionally, he assumed that all subjects, army, and mercenaries under the governance of a prince have similar behavior. He also assumed his readers are political aspirants with intentions of acquiring political offices.
Personally, Machiavelli doctrines are true because he describes the consequences of good and bad governance. The prosperity of a kingdom or government is always in the hands of the ruler whether a prince or any other leader.
In summary, Machiavelli directs his doctrines to readers with intentions of leading in future. His hopes to continue his career as a political consultant motivates him to write the document, which explicitly outlines leadership skills.
During his writing, he assumes all states in West are under the governance of princes while all subjects have similar behavioral conducts. Personally, I believe in the document’s doctrines because Machiavelli compares failure and achievements of leaders. Therefore, all leaders should adapt humanity, equality, appreciation, and peace for prosperity of their kingdom or areas of jurisdiction.
Machiavelli, N. (1513). The Prince. In M.A. Kishlansky, Sources of the West Reading in Western Civilization (4th Ed.). (pp. 17-20). London: Longman.